The United States vs. Billie Holiday

The United States vs. Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday spent much of her career being adored by fans. In the 1940s, the government targeted Holiday in a growing effort to racialize the war on drugs, ultimately aiming to stop her from singing her controversial ballad, "Strange Fruit."

  • Released: 2021-03-31
  • Runtime: 131 minutes
  • Genre: Drama, History, Music
  • Stars: Andra Day, Trevante Rhodes, Garrett Hedlund, Leslie Jordan, Miss Lawrence, Adriane Lenox, Natasha Lyonne, Rob Morgan, Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Evan Ross, Tyler James Williams, Tone Bell, Blake DeLong, Dana Gourrier, Melvin Gregg, Erik LaRay Harvey, Ray Shell, Dusan Dukic, Koumba Ball, Kate MacLellan, Kwasi Songui, Letitia Brookes, Warren 'Slim' Williams, Orville Thompson, Jeff Corbett, Damian Joseph Quinn, Robert Alan Beuth, Randy Davison, Kevin Hanchard, Jono Townsend, Morgan Moore, Arlen John Bonnar, Furly Mac, Andrew Zadel, Tristan D. Lalla, Alex Bisping, Don Anderson, Amanda Strawn, Charleine Charles, Sylvia Stewart, DaphnĂ© Archer, Anita Lee, Tony Chao, Linda SauvĂ©, Alain Goulem, Ramona Clyke, Laurent Beaudin, Alika Autran, Kim Feeney, Diana Carmen Ratycz, Richard Jutras, Jonathan Higgins, Marc Essertaize, Nealla Gordon, Len Blavatnik, Christopher Ricardo Price, Taryn Brown, Zuri Hawkins, Elizabeth Eveillard, Clauter Alexandre, Penande Estime, Elikya Tupula, Nefertari Zanyah Brewster-Griffith, Joe Cobden, Ronda Louis-Jeune, Maxime Paradis, Sarah Levesque, Donald Fullilove
  • Director: Lee Daniels
  • nicholls_les - 17 March 2023
    Well acted but too much profanity
    This movie was very well acted, especially by Andra Day, she looks and sounds so much like Billie Holiday, much more so than Diana Ross did in Lady sings the blues.

    All supporting actors are very good at each of their roles, but the movie has far too much profanity throughout to make it enjoyable to watch. I don't understand the modern trend for this as it is unnecessary, it doesn't make the movie more realistic, it detracts from the story.

    I would have given this more stars mainly based on Andra Day's acting but the swearing spoils it. Oddly the movie even has more profanity than the original script.
  • lkeatleyhayes - 28 April 2022
    Fabulous actors held back by poor movie
    The cast is fabulous but this movie falls down in so many places.

    It is brilliantly acted and, I think, covers an interesting and dark life of the tribulations of Billie Holiday.

    However, the editing is a mess. Sometimes it was hard to follow the plot due to the edits.

    They tried to do flashbacks and flash forwards and it was all over the place.

    The premise initially is that Reginald Lord Devine (Leslie Jordan) is interviewing Billie and then they flash back to the events that happen to her. But because the interview isn't at the end of her life, we then flashforward to her last days and death.

    The gay scene from the trailer, with Billie (Andra Day) and Tallulah (Natasha Lyonne) has been cut.

    I'm unsure why this happened given that they couldn't include a couple of minutes for these scenes in an >2hr film (but we get some explicit sex scenes with the men in Billie's life).

    The sound wasn't great either. I often found it difficult to hear some of the actors lines. The audio wasn't always clear.

    And the film starts and ends with text on screen to explain what happens.

    This film could have been great and covers a really interesting and important part of history. But it was mired in poor editing/directorial decisions which turned it into a convoluted mess.
  • Aatchoum - 20 October 2021
    It must be admitted that the private life of some great artists is one of depravity, drug and alcohol abuse. What's the point of making a movie out of it, even with great actors ? Even with good music and good songs, it's still a kind of talk show with conversations and private jokes between junkies.